You’ve grown your lawn care business, and now it’s time to start hiring lawn care employees.
In this guide, you’ll find out exactly when it’s time to hire as well as how to put a hiring process in place.
After reading this article, you can find THE BEST lawn care employees that are:
- Excited to work for you
Here, we’ll uncover the greatest tried-and-true secrets that successful lawn care owners have been using for YEARS.
This guide will help you to pinpoint your hiring problems – and fix them.
No more labor droughts. No more bad hires. No more micro-management or stress headaches.
Now, let’s get the kind of lawn care employees that most other business owners can only dream of:
Grow Your Lawn Care Business… Faster (and with Less Stress)
Get happier clients. Grow a healthier business. Service Autopilot is your one software for everything.
- Instant invoicing
- Better scheduling
- Manage your clients and employees all in one system
When It’s Time to Hire a New Lawn Care Employee
You can guess, “get a feeling,” or close your eyes and wish… But you’ll never know when it’s time to hire a new lawn care employee until you answer these questions:
1. Are you growing fast enough to put a new, full-time hire to work?
When you and your team feel like you’re drowning in work, it’s time to consider bringing on a new employee.
2. Do you have the time and resources to properly train a new hire?
Nothing will hurt your business more than a poorly trained employee.
3. Are your clients happy with your services?
Don’t hire anyone new until you know you can provide and train for a service that makes your clients happy.
4. Do you have the money to handle a short-term profit loss?
Nobody starts out at 100% efficiency. Your profits will take a hit while your new hire learns the ropes.
5. Do you have a hiring process in place?
Are you ready to:
- Manage a new employee
- Put your new hire on the payroll
- Fulfill the federal and state legal requirements
If you can answer “yes” to all of these questions, then you’re ready to hire more lawn care employees.
How to Find and Hire the Best Lawn Care Employees
Have you tried everything?
Most small business owners think they have. Yet, they’re still stuck in the field because they couldn’t find employees to fill their roster. This is because most green industry owners barely tap into the best hiring resources.
By using this guide, you can tap into the elite, top 5% of business owners who know exactly how to find the best employees in the lawn care industry.
1. Find the Best Lawn Care Employees Using Effective Marketing Strategies
You spend all this time and effort in acquiring new clients, so why no use the same skills to find new lawn care employees?
This lawn care marketing guide allows you to capture the interest of hundreds to help you hire the best employees in your market.
This ultimate marketing strategy guide gives you:
- A free pricing calculator
- Flyers, door hangers, and Craigslist ads
- Social media tactics (that actually work!)
- The power to turn lukewarm applicants into people begging to get hired by you
Click here for the full free marketing guide.
2. Advertise Your Job Openings
Ever wonder how the big lawn care businesses keep finding all these employees?
The secret lies in paid advertisements.
When you use platforms like Craiglist or Facebook, you can shorten the amount of time you spend on the hiring process. Plus, paid ads greatly increase the number of qualified employees applying to your business.
But here’s the thing: you have to do it right. Otherwise, you’ll spend way too much money, and you won’t see any new hires.
How to Hire Your Best Employees… Starting Right Now
3. Talk to Your Vendors
Are you friendly with your vendors? If not, then you should be.
Your vendors know everyone in the area with any expertise, so take time to build healthy relationships with your local vendors and supply stores.
Be kind to them and do favors for them. This way, when the time comes, you can ask them if they know anyone who might be interested in working for you.
4. Use Your Friends, Family, and Social Media for Free Referrals
Many of the “big players” use this strategy when they need to fill up their roster for the season.
Let your friends and family know you’re looking for lawn care workers. Then, put out “help wanted” posts on Facebook. It’s free, effective, and it hits your local area.
Here’s an example of something I’ve seen shared on social media:
“My company, XYZ Lawns and Landscapes, is hiring. Share this post if you know anyone who might be interested in ABC position. We take care of our employees, and we always pay on time.”
How to Hire Your First Lawn Care and Landscaping Employee
Your first green industry employee will go one of two ways:
- They’ll slow you down and hurt the growth of your business.
- They’ll double your productivity and give you free time to grow faster.
It all depends on if you know what you’re looking for.
Here’s a quick guide to hiring your first lawn care employee:
- Did they show up on time for the interview?
- Do they have a respectful attitude that’ll transcend to your clients and future team?
- Are they experienced, so you can skip the training period? (If so, they might know a few strategies that are used by your competition.)
Things to Avoid When Hiring Your First Lawn Care Employee:
- People looking to make a quick buck.
- A family member or friend (this is one of the most common hiring mistakes).
- Inexperienced candidates (they might be cheaper, but they’ll slow you down).
Interviewing and Hiring Your New Lawn Care Employee
You loved their application. Now, the next step is to call them.
During the phone interview, ask about their work history and experience in the industry. Then, give them one or two curveball questions that’ll give you a feel for their real, “unscripted” personality.
- If you get a bad feeling during the phone interview, it’s probably not going to work out.
- If the applicant does well, schedule an in-person interview. Prepare a list of questions that aim to get a feel for their personality. This is where you can take the chance to find out if they’re capable of acting like a professional.
- If they show up late, or they look like they just rolled out of bed, you don’t want to hire them.
Click here to see a great list of green industry interview questions that can help get you started.
Always remember, never hire out of pity, and never hire them just because you get along with them. Hire someone because you think they’ll help you grow your lawn care business. This will help to save you a lot of heartache in the long-run.
5 Steps to Compensate Your Best Lawn Care Employees
The best lawn care employees need to be paid more; however, they’ll also make you thousands more in pure profit every year.
Problem is, most lawn care owners think they can’t afford to pay their best employees what they’re worth. So they settle for the “cheap guys” and pay them dirt.
But here’s the good news…
It only takes 5 steps to pay your employees what they deserve, so they’ll want to work for you:
- Make sure you price your services right. Don’t be cheap just because everyone else is.
- Figure out the average wages of your market. For top talent: you’ll have to pay over the average to keep them happy.
- Pay them well! Check out this guide to find out how much you should be paying your lawn care employees.
- Incentivize them to stay. Since this is a seasonal industry, you’ll need to find a way to keep your best team members year after year. Bonuses for consecutive years worked, pay raises, and other incentives will encourage the best guys to return.
- Pay attention to overtime laws (especially if you’re using a unique pay for performance model).
The Pay for Performance Model
If you have the resources to set this up, Jonathan Pototschnik (Lawn Care Millionaire) suggests a pay for performance model.
Warning! This model is NOT for beginners.
When implemented incorrectly, this model could end up losing you money. Make sure you have the right lawn care software (with job costing tools) to help you manage your business and keep your profits high.
When your best employees are invested in your business, they’ll work much harder to help it grow. Which means, they’ll help to make you more money.
Not to mention, you’ll dodge the stress and headaches from unmotivated employees.
8 Ways to Keep Your Amazing Lawn Care Employees
Are your best employees getting poached? If so, you could lose more than labor:
- You lose their experience.
- Morale drops across your business.
- You risk them giving away your plans to competitors.
Here are 8 simple ways to keep your lawn care team happy and motivated:
- Build a reputation for quality work (this attracts quality workers).
- Reward loyalty. “Stay” bonuses make employees glad to return year after year.
- Provide perks that no other company will.
- Give employees a stake in the company’s growth.
- Recognize talent: if you see another company’s employee doing a great job, go talk to them. Give them your card, and tell them you think they’d make a great fit at your company (most likely your competitors are already doing this to your employees).
- Build a healthy company culture.
- Enable employees to see the path of their own advancement.
- Watch for signals that your employees are unhappy. What would you do to keep a client? Do that 10 times over to keep your best employees.
Should You make Your Employees Sign a Non-Compete Clause?
In most cases, non-compete clauses may not do you any good because they’re incredibly difficult to enforce (especially in the green industry).
Think of it this way…
You hire a guy who’s been mowing for 10 years. After a few months, he leaves for various reasons. Is he supposed to give up his lifelong experience in mowing?
Studies suggest that non-compete clauses can actually hurt employee performance.
After signing non-competes, crews tend to do worse because they feel like their work owns them – instead of them owning their work.
Solution: Instead, have your employees sign a non-disclosure agreement. This will protect your company’s intellectual property.
NDA’s protect things like:
- Client lists
- Future plans
- Routes and maps
How to Hire an Office Assistant for Your Lawn and Landscape Business
The calls NEVER STOP.
Some got to your voicemail, and some hang up before you can answer.
Every time you get a call and don’t answer, you could miss out on winning a new client.
For the average lifetime value of a client, you could lose thousands of dollars – EVERY TIME you don’t pick up your phone.
This is one of the many reasons that every lawn and landscaping business needs to hire an office assistant. And as you grow, you’ll need more than one.
Click here to read our quick guide on hiring an office assistant.
How to Build a Company Culture that You Love
“My employees love working for me.”
Sounds unrealistic… but under the right leadership, it can happen.
Company culture is critical for business owners that want employees to enjoy going to work.
Your company culture determines things like:
- Who gets hired
- Company vision
- How the company interacts with clients, partners, and employees
Culture creation isn’t hard, but it’s something you have to pay attention to.
How do people want to be treated? How do they treat others?
A Quick Guide to Building Your Company Culture
- Start with a purpose (identify goals and standards).
- Lead by example.
- Be kind, and respect your employees.
- Be truthful and always communicate.
Here’s an example of a great culture for a lawn care business:
- “Get it right the first time” attitude.
- Strong focus on teamwork.
- Professional, yet not uptight atmosphere (this looks good in front of clients without turning your employees into machines).
Is It Time to Fire Your Worst Lawn Care Employee?
This can be one of the parts of owning a business. One way or another, you’ll eventually have to fire someone.
Fortunately, you can turn this painful task into a less emotional process by watching your numbers.
This can be easily viewed in Service Autopilot to give you the “hard data” you need to prove an employee is holding you back.
Here’s how you can tell it’s time to fire an employee:
Does the Employee Cost More than They Make (Or Close to It)?
Sometimes, employees stop caring… or maybe, they were never a good fit in the first place.
Employees can hurt your company by doing things like:
- Band-mouthing clients or coworkers
- Scaring clients away or pissing them off
- Doing a poor job and showing no signs of improvement
This is a touchy subject for everyone, so it’s best to measure your employees’ performance in order to back up your feelings on this matter.
What Should You Do Next?
Is your lawn care employee trending from bad to worse?
Here are the next steps you should consider taking:
- Talk to them. Find out what’s wrong. You might be able to save them.
- Discover if there’s a training problem. Even the worst employees can turn around after retraining.
- Give them goals to shoot for. If you never tell them what you want, how are they supposed to meet your expectations?
And when all else fails, fire them right away. Be respectful, but firm. Remember, letting go of a bad employee is a healthy decision for everyone else in your company.
What If All of Your Employees Suck?
Maybe you’re fed up, and you want a fresh start… but letting go of employees can cost you a lot.
Before doing anything drastic, look at these two elements of your lawn care business:
- Re-evaluate your hiring practices. Are you setting up the right expectations? Are you asking them the right questions in interviews?
- Re-evaluate your training practices. Are you giving them enough time to adapt to your company culture and work ethic? Do they have the right resources they need to become great employees?
Click here to read more about dealing with problem employees.
Want to know how to find, train, AND keep great employees?
Hiring and Keeping the Best Lawn Care Employees
Hiring the best lawn care employees is easier than you think – the hard part is keeping them motivated.
For the lawn care and landscaping industry, this seems to get harder every year.
This guide is here to pinpoint and eliminate any hiring problem in your business.
Use this guide to start finding AND KEEPING the best lawn care and landscaping employees for your business RIGHT NOW!
Originally published March 8, 2019 7:00 AM, July 21, 2020 2:52 PM
Patrick Hoffman is Marketing Director at Service Autopilot. He specializes in managing marketing campaigns and giving marketing strategies to the Lawn Care, Landscaping, and Cleaning Industries. When he's not writing, he's reading books on marketing, self-improvement, or science fiction.